Traveling the winter landscape on a snowmobile can be a real adventure – the scenery, the thrill of the machine itself, and outdoor fun with family and friends. But do you have the snowmobile gear you need to stay safe? Make sure you’re prepared with this list of snowmobile must-haves.
Your Snowmobile Trip Checklist
Here’s a helpful list of what to bring snowmobiling to ensure a safe, enjoyable ride:
- Layering clothing is a good idea. You’ll stay nice and warm, and you can remove layers to match weather conditions. A windproof outer layer is a must.
- An extra pair of thick socks
- Warm gloves or mittens and water-proof boots
- A helmet. Check to be sure your helmet is the right size and in good condition. Make sure the chin strap fits snugly. And you should have a visor for clear vision and protection from the wind.
- Glasses or goggles and some sunblock to protect you from the sun
- Food: one meal and emergency rations
- Plenty of water
- Waterproof matches
- Extra gas and tools for the snowmobile (a drive belt and sparkplugs are the most common fixes)
- A map and compass
- A first-aid kit
- Emergency flares
Must-know Snowmobile Safety Tips
With more than 1.1 million registered snowmobile riders in the US riding an average of 1,100 miles annually, it’s smart to be aware of your surroundings and other riders in the area. Here are more tips for a safe excursion:
Keep Others Informed of Your Plans
Snowmobiling is safer and more fun with a friend or in a group, but sometimes that’s not possible. Either way, have a snow plan. Pick a trail or identify the general area where you’ll be riding and don’t stray. Estimate the length of time you’ll be gone. Leave those details with a trusted friend or family member. That way, if you are overdue, people have an idea where to search for you. As a courtesy, let that friend or family member know when you’ve returned from your ride.
Keep an Eye on the Weather
Don’t plan a ride if inclement weather is expected. Getting stuck in bad weather can affect your vision, reaction time and sense of direction. Riding on lakes and rivers is also a bad idea, especially on ice with moving water under it. If you have to ride on ice, consider a life jacket over your outer clothing.
Watch Your Speed
Maintain a safe speed. Speed is the number one factor in most snowmobile fatalities. Speed limits and other laws around snowmobile operation vary by state. So get familiar with the rules in whatever state you’re riding.
Don’t Drink and Ride
Never mix alcohol with snowmobiling. While some believe alcohol can keep you warm in cold temperatures, it’s only a myth. It actually does nothing to raise your body temperature. In fact, it can put you at greater risk of hypothermia. You have a false sense of warmth while your body temperature declines. Alcohol also impairs your ability to make smart decisions while riding.
If you properly prepare, stay alert and obey safety laws, snowmobiling is a great way to explore the countryside and enjoy the snow. You can get to remote places and see some pretty incredible scenery. An important part of being prepared is having the proper insurance coverage. Before you head out on your next adventure, talk with your local Farm Bureau agent to ensure you’re protected. Enjoy the ride!